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Brockton 18, Waltham 11

Brockton uses a backup generator

By Mike Scandura
Globe Correspondent / November 27, 2009

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BROCKTON - Perhaps Brockton coach Peter Colombo best described freshman quarterback Austin Roberts’s performance in yesterday’s 76th - and last - Thanksgiving clash against Waltham.

“Because he’s only a freshman, I’ll be able to sleep well knowing I’ve got him for three years,’’ Colombo said after Roberts keyed an 18-11 victory.

Roberts replaced suspended senior Sam Previte and played like a seasoned quarterback. He completed 9 of 16 passes (with two drops) for 150 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.

“He doesn’t surprise me,’’ Colombo said. “He’s worked hard all through the summer and fall. He’s been our backup and was prepared to run our team at any given time. It happened in Game 1 against BC High when Sammy had a little concussion and it happened in Game 10.

“We’ve had a lot of reps since then, and he was prepared. I was very happy with the job he did.

“He’s been around the game his whole life. His dad is one of our freshman coaches. As the son of a coach, it’s good that you’re a quarterback.’’

Roberts wasn’t awestruck being thrust into the lineup with minimal game experience.

“I thought I could do it all year,’’ he said. “I did it in the BC High game. I’ve been around [football] since I was little and I knew I was ready.

“I really didn’t think there was that much pressure. The only thing I was worried about was snaps. I hadn’t worked with the center all year. Once I had a day or two with him, we were fine.’’

One play that underscored Roberts’s performance came in the fourth quarter with Brockton (9-1) facing third and 6 from its 33 and holding a 12-3 lead. Roberts ran 10 yards for a first down, and Albert Louis-Jean eventually scored on an end-around from the 4 with 27 seconds remaining.

“We were trying to draw them offside but didn’t do that,’’ Roberts said. “We ran boot right and I was looking for any option. I found a little crease and I knew if I cut it up, all I had to do was get the first down.’’

Another revealing play occurred with 27 seconds left in the first half when Roberts hooked up with Dominique Williams for a 59-yard touchdown pass that erased a 3-0 deficit.

“I was supposed to throw a wheel to Albert,’’ Roberts said. “I saw the pressure coming. I escaped the pocket and saw Dominique, who’s a great player. I knew if I put it in his area he’s going to make a great play.’’

Brockton increased its lead to 12-3 on the first play of the final quarter when Alex Moreta dived over from the 2. But Waltham (5-5) countered with a 1-yard scoring run by Jonas Dufferane plus a 2-point conversion run by Ivan Colon.

Roberts then engineered a 71-yard scoring drive that clinched the victory.

With one game left in Previte’s suspension, Roberts will be back under center when the Boxers face top-ranked Xaverian in a Division 1 semifinal Tuesday.